How to Run a Lean Operation

by Shopper Approved | October 5, 2017

As far as being lean in equipment, machinery, inventory, etc., that’s very specific for each business. We’re experts in running a lean operation as far as having a lean team of employees goes. Below are some ways to keep your team lean and efficient.

Let employees wear different hats

Especially when it comes to smaller companies, it’s easier to let people wear multiple hats or have duties outside of their ‘job description’. Don’t let everyone stray too far from their primary functions, but having some flexibility in what your employees do reduces the number of employees you need.

Make sure core expectations are understood

If everyone knows what is expected of them, and the entire team is working toward common goals, it’s easier for them to do their job. Misunderstanding what’s important for employees to get done is a common downfall for having employees do multiple jobs, so clear communication is crucial.

Create a comprehensive training process

The onboarding process should ideally make it easy for employees to jump right in to different tasks. Providing comprehensive training, as well as repeat trainings for some who may need it, allows more fluidity and understanding. It also makes employees more independent when solving problems, easing the burden on management.

Allow mistakes

Instead of criticizing mistakes, embracing them and turning them into learning experiences not only makes employees less afraid to make them as they take more work on, but creates an environment that promotes growth. Mistakes are worth making as long as people learn from them. They make employees think more critically.

Be mindful of work/life balance

Burn-out is the enemy of any business. Employees that don’t get a good work/life balance tend to burn-out more quickly than anyone else, leading to higher turnover rates. This increases your costs as you’re constantly onboarding new employees and training them. You’re also losing people that, when at their most productive, provide a lot of value.

Treat your employees well

If your employees know that they are appreciated, they will be willing to do more. Treating your employees well is a broad expectation, and it’s up to you to define how you’ll treat them well. Competitive pay and benefits along with a fun, open culture seems to work for Silicon Valley. Value those that make your business progress, and they’ll willingly put on multiple hats.

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